Child Sex Trafficking Huge Problem in Portland
We all had a good laugh earlier when we learned Portland, Oregon, has the most strip clubs per capita than any other city in America... by a lot. What's not funny is the number of teenagers cycled through these clubs as dancers to advertise them for paid sex.
Sex traffickers move girls around looking for business. When things are slow in California, the girls are moved to Portland and Seattle. Because the state only tracks the victims they identify, it's hard to know if Portland's problem is greater than Seattle's.
Occasionally they drive the victims to the Mid Columbia and Spokane for pre-arranged appointments made online.
The average age of victims has been 15! Most are female, but a few boys have been involved. More than 60 percent have addiction issues. Many adult prostitutes started as teenagers.
Part of the problem is Portland's lax regulation of strip clubs. Oregon considers them protected by free speech, so they can pop up nearly anywhere. Dancers are considered contractors, not employees, so the clubs don't have to keep records on them.
Because the victims are young girls manipulated by criminal men, they are often too scared once in custody to point fingers at their pimps. This makes the crime hard to prosecute once victims are found.